Annual holiday concerts feature SHS choir and other special guests

The Sequim Christmas Chorus, now in its 24th season, is one of Sequim's many joyous community endeavors.

Since 1984, the concerts have marked the beginning of the holiday season and provided a special time to rejoice and share the wonder of Christmas.

This year, the chorus is singing with a special purpose - to raise funds for Sequim Community Aid. Following the theme "Gloria!" director Gary McRoberts has designed an inspiring program of sacred music. The 70-voice chorus will open each performance with the beautiful "Christmas Hymn (While By My Sheep)."

Other selections include "Hodie Christus Natus Est" (today Christ is born), which will be performed with a double chorus; "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" (with Sequim High School Select Choir Women); and "I Just Heard Some Good News" (with soloists Phil Langston and Rowan Kaufman).

The audience is invited to join the chorus in singing the "Carol Medley" and the ever-popular "Hallelujah Chorus."

John Erskine, an accomplished new member of

Sequim's talented music community, is accompanying the chorus. Since moving to Sequim, Erskine has returned - after 40 years - to performing on the piano. A retired high school band director, he also spent many years supervising public school fine arts programs in Connecticut and New York.

The holiday program also features the Sequim High School Select Choir at the Friday and Sunday performances, and Dungeness Transfer (from Olympic Peninsula Men's Chorus) at the Saturday performance.

At each concert, Karla Messerschmidt-Morgan will read "Following the Star," an excerpt from "One Incredible Moment" by Max Lucado.

The Sequim High School Brass Quintet will play in the lobby before the performances on Friday and Sunday, and Buttons and Bows, a cello and flute duo, will play before the Saturday performance.

In addition to directing the chorus since 2006, McRoberts accompanies, sings and teaches. He also directs the Olympic Peninsula Men's Chorus. He has more than 30 years experience directing high school, college, church and community choruses.

At the request of a number of attendees, both the evening and afternoon concerts will be performed earlier in the day than in previous years.

The purpose in founding the chorus was to bring local church choirs together and to put more emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas. In that spirit, the chorus will donate a portion of the proceeds to Sequim Community Aid, an organization that helps many people in the community.

The chorus is open to singers of all backgrounds, religions and levels of experience. Participating in the chorus does not require any auditions or fees. Rehearsals begin in September and the chorus disbands after giving the concerts. The chorus has no religious affiliation and is presented by the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, contact chorus coordinator Julie Jackson by e-mailing or calling 683-1355.

'Tis the season

Sequim Christmas Chorus presents its annual holiday concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6-7, at Sequim Bible Church, 847 N. Sequim Ave. Admission is $5 per person; children under 12 are free. Tickets are available at Frick Drug, Bauer Interior Design, Dungeness Bay Wine & Cheese, Sequim Dry Cleaning and Laundry, Curves, the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce and at the door.

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